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Bonalbo drops off the black spot list

18 May 2017
TelstraNews

 Sharon Bird, who works in Bonalbo as the community's pharmacist, said she has already seen the major difference mobile service has made on her business and is excited about how efficient her workplace has become.   

"First thing we were able to do was buy an eftpos machine that uses the 3G network, which is much more reliable than the telephone has been in the past," Mrs Bird said.   

"I can now be on call, so the hospital, the doctor and the community can ring me after hours and I can offer them an after hours service.

"My wholesaler also showed me their app I can now use on my mobile as it has 3G connection, so now we can go round our shelves and do our ordering more efficiently.

"We are just very happy and as soon as it happened there was great excitement in town."  

Telstra Area General Manager Mike Marom said the expansion of mobile coverage in the area was another example of Telstra's ongoing commitment to regional and rural Australia.

"This is a significant moment for our customers in Bonalbo who have had their call answered for better mobile coverage," Mr Marom said. 

To continue reading the article: click here. (northernstar.com.au)

Optus gets $555k of ‘left over’ black spot funds to boost SA mobile coverage

18 May 2017
OptusNews

The South Australian Government has allocated $555,015 to Optus to build and operate four new mobile phone base stations in the State after $2 million it committed towards the federal government’s mobile black spots programme was not fully utilised.

The SA Government says the new base stations will boost mobile phone coverage in black spots in the mid north, south east and Riverland regions of the state.

And, it says it has awarded the funds to Optus to build and operate the four base stations with high safety risk ratings including Wasleys, an area where black spots impacted on safety during the 2015 Pinery bushfire, Sevenhill in the Clare Valley, Yahl near Mount Gambier and Blanchetown in the Riverland.

According to the government, the base stations will ensure around 2100 residents, schools and businesses within a 10-km radius of the towers will have increased 4G coverage, with better call experiences and faster, more reliable mobile internet use.

The four sites have been chosen based on a range of factors including safety concerns, particularly with respect to high bushfire risk areas.

To continue reading the article: click here. (itwire.com)

New Telstra tower improves mobile reception for Winmalee residents

16 May 2017
TelstraNews

Springwood and Winmalee Telstra customers should start enjoying improved mobile coverage after a new telephone tower became operational this month.

Local politicians and Telstra representatives inspected the new tower at Summerhayes Park on Friday.

Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman said Winmalee residents had waited a long time for the development.

“Council and Telstra should be congratulated for working through some challenging issues,” she said.

These included finding a site that met Telstra’s and the local community’s needs, as well as negotiating to lease the land from Blue Mountains City Council.

“We had quite lengthy negotiations over the leasing and the location and we’re really pleased it’s come to this now,” said Ward 3 Cr Mick Fell.

“We’ll have much better coverage… People will hopefully notice the difference and it will make the area safer in times of natural emergencies.”

To continue reading the article: click here. (bluemountainsgazette.com.au)

Blackspot in budget | Survey

16 May 2017
InTheNews

The communications coalition championing better services for regional Australia will push for funding for the Mobile Blackspot program that was left out of the federal Budget.

The Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition said “disappointing” was the best way to describe the funding miss for the program’s fourth stage.

The coalition’s members include the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), the Country Women’s Association of NSW and Cotton Australia.

It was formed last year to fight for better mobile phone and data connectivity.

The Budget disclosed there would be no new money for the Mobile Blackspot program past the next financial year.

NFF rural affairs manager Mark Harvey-Sutton said “disappointing” was the best way to describe the issue.

“We were hoping Round 4 would be included in the Budget,” he said.

To continue reading the article: click here. (dailyliberal.com.au)

Council identifies local mobile black spots

16 May 2017
InTheNews

THREE new mobile phone towers are already on the drawing board as Bathurst Regional Council prepares to chase funding to tackle a new list of local black spots.

Bathurst has received funding under the NSW Government’s Mobile Black Spots Program (MBSP) that will see Telstra towers erected  at Rockley and Trunkey Creek this year while Optus is expected to begin work on a tower at Napoleon Reef in early 2018.

A report to council’s monthly meeting by acting environmental, planning and building services director Richard Denyer said all three locations had been identified through consultation with the local community, businesses and telecommunications providers.

“The MBSP provides the opportunity for telecommunication providers to construct towers outside of major city areas and fringes that would not otherwise be commercially viable,” Mr Denyer wrote.

To continue reading the article: click here. (westernadvocate.com.au)

Regional Communications Minister defends Federal budget mobile blackspot blackout

13 May 2017
InTheNews

The Federal Government has defended its failure to find any new money in the budget to fix mobile phone blackspots or boost internet services.

Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Regional Communications Fiona Nash said 765 new mobile phone towers would be rolled out under a $220 million initiative, with a firm commitment for another $60 million to be spent on round three once they are finished.

"People have raised that there wasn't extra funding in this budget … quite simply, it'll take a couple of years to get rounds one and two and the 'priority locations' round [of towers] out on the ground and those resources simply aren't there," she said.

"We wouldn't see a new tower even if we'd had funding in this budget for at least a couple of years."

There had been a chorus of rural and regional voices in the lead-up to Tuesday night's budget announcement demanding better internet services, but Ms Nash said the current national broadband network (NBN) rollout program was on track to be completed by 2020.

She said NBN Co had acknowledged its SkyMuster service was not to the standard it should have been but its performance had improved markedly since its launch in September last year.

To continue reading the article: click here. (abc.net.au)

Optus mobile phone tower rejected after Smithfield campaign

11 May 2017
OptusNews

SMITHFIELD residents have blocked Optus from building a mobile phone tower within 70m of homes.

Homeowners in Carbine Close, Ardisia St and nearby streets successfully petitioned Cairns Regional Council to reject the development application to the planning and environment committee.

They had been prepared to set up a fighting fund and take the matter to the Planning and Environment Court.

Division 8 Councillor Jessie Richardson worked closely with the residents and Optus, organising for each side to present their arguments before the council ahead of yesterday’s vote.

Division 1 Councillor Brett Moller said she “worked tirelessly with the community”.

The council unanimously rejected the application, against planning officers’ recommendation

To continue reading the article: click here. (cairnspost.com.au)

Telstra brings WiFi calling to iPhones

11 May 2017
TelstraNews

More Australians stuck in mobile blackspots will be able to make voice calls over WiFi as Apple's iPhone joins Samsung's Galaxy smartphones in supporting VoWiFi on Telstra.

Third-party apps like Skype have supported WiFi voice calls for years, but telcos are naturally slow to adopt any kind of technology which would seem to eat into their traditional revenues. In recent times Australia's telcos have finally warmed to the idea of letting customers make standard voice calls via data networks, embracing Voice over LTE and Voice over WiFi.

Telstra introduced VoWiFi in late 2016, initially for Samsung's Galaxy S6 but it's expanding to the S7 and S8 as well as the iPhone 6 and more recent Apple smartphones. iPhone owners will need to update to the latest version of iOS, which is accompanied by a carrier settings update which adds the WiFi Calling option under the Phone/ Settings menu.

VoWiFi can seamlessly transfer between Telstra's mobile network and WiFi, even while the call is in progress, making it a practical alternative to in-home mobile boosters which telcos tend to frown upon. Thankfully VoWiFi doesn't rely on your WiFi network running off a Telstra fixed line broadband connection, it should work with any ISP, but data used by calls is unmetered over Telstra connections.

To continue reading the article: click here. (smh.com.au)

WiFi calling comes to iPhone on Telstra

11 May 2017
TelstraNews

With voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) now becoming a big deal, the same service over WiFi is also popping up, but usually only if you have a new phone. Fortunately, that’s changing, too.

If you’re a Telstra user with an iPhone this week, there’s a good chance your phone reception could get better when you’re in range of a familiar WiFi network.

This week, Apple is reportedly rolling out changes to iOS that will see voice-over-WiFi switched on, delivering better voice connection to people at home even if the network reception is patchy at best.

“There are a number of environmental factors that can impact mobile coverage, including topography, building construction and geography,” said Andrew Volard, Director of Device Management at Telstra.

“We can overcome some of these factors for our customers by extending Wi-Fi calling technology, making mobile voice calls accessible in places even the best mobile network can’t reach,” he said.

To continue reading the article: click here. (pickr.com.au)

Budget 2017: winners and losers

11 May 2017
InTheNews

This years Federal Budget has a number of measures for Australian agriculture, the biggest being the  announcement of of an additional $8.4 billion to build the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail.

Farming organisations were mixed in their views with National Farmers Federation president Fiona Simson giving the Budget an overall ‘B+’ rating. 

While the NFF were pleased with the funding announcement of $1 billion over the next five years for landcare, no new money has been allocated for Mobile Blackspots. 

“Reliable telecommunications is one of the biggest challenges before the farm sector and regional Australia as a whole,” she said.

“The NFF implores the government to ensure the roll-out of the Blackspot Program continues to be prioritised.”

NSW Farmers Derek Schoen said he and his staff will be going through the budget paper over the next few days “with a fine tooth comb”.

To continue reading the article: click here. (westernmagazine.com.au)

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